rsaunder


Richard G Saunders

Photo of Richard G Saunders

Department of Politics

Associate Professor

Office: Ross Building, S639
Phone: (416) 736-2100 Ext: 88834
Email: rsaunder@yorku.ca
Secondary website: Resource Nationalism in Southern Africa Project

Media Requests Welcome
Accepting New Graduate Students


My career path as an academic is somewhat atypical. Prior to coming to York in 2002 I lived for two decades in Southern Africa, where I was a journalist and worked as a researcher within community-based and not-for-profit organisations. I maintain strong research links with academic and civil society researchers in East and Southern Africa, and have drawn on these connections to support the work of my graduate students and facilitate research collaborations between York and African partners. My research and supervision areas involve themes of state-society relations in the Global South in the contemporary period of neoliberal globalization. A recurring theme of my work involves the innovative forms of resistance and ‘compliance’ mounted by social constituencies in the face of pressures associated with neoliberal restructuring.

More...

Since the 1990s, my academic and civil society research has explored the changing nature of the Southern state, the rise of non-state social actors in the shaping of policy discourses, and the resulting emergence of alternative policy strategies and governance mechanisms. In this regard, I have worked extensively on African labour movements, new media and democratization, and social justice contestations around public health policy. More recently, I have focused on issues of resource governance, using the lenses of political economy and political sociology. In each of these research areas, my work has sought to both fill critical research gaps in the literature, and provide technical and strategic support to popular constituencies engaged in diverse policy-making arenas.

My teaching has focused on African political economy, ‘development studies’ and comparative politics more broadly. I have taught several Africa-focused courses at undergraduate and graduate level, although in the past ten years my graduate teaching has included the wider scope of the Global South and focused increasingly on themes of state and non-state politics in the 21st Century. My graduate supervision has included PhD and MA students working on projects involving different areas in the Global South, with an emphasis on Africa and Latin America. My broader interest in engaging with Southern research and debates has led to my appointment as an associate faculty member in the graduate programs of International Development Studies and Sociology in LA&PS, and the Faculty of Health. Since 2019 I have been a Senior Research Associate of the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg.

Degrees

PhD, Carleton University
MA, Queens University
BA, St. Francis Xavier University

Appointments

Faculty of Health

Professional Leadership

Recent leadership roles in collaborative scholarly projects and intergovernmental policy studies include:
* 2020-23, Principal Investigator, SSHRC Partnership Development Grant Project, “Resource Nationalism in Southern Africa: Policy Challenges and Emerging Opportunities”
* 2020-23, Principal Investigator, SSHRC Insight Grant, “Canadian Mining and Resource Nationalism in Africa: Contestation and Developmental Implications”
* 2018-19, Principal Investigator, SSHRC Connection Grant, “Resource Nationalism in Southern Africa: Emerging Challenges and New Opportunities”
* 2013-19, Zimbabwe Country Team Leader for United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) project on the Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization
* 2013-16, Corresponding Editor and principal investigator for research resulting in the co-edited book, Facts of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamonds (Johannesburg and Harare, Wits University Press and Weaver Press, 2016)

Community Contributions

My close working links with scholarly, civil society and other research institutions and initiatives in Southern and East Africa date back to the 1980s.

In the 1980s and 1990s, my work in the region focused initially on media reform and information and human rights, and subsequently on issues of labour and economic reforms. I maintain links with academic, community-based and other civil society research institutions and initiatives in the region and support African and Canadian students and emerging researchers working in those areas.

In the 2010s my research focus increasingly shifted to Africa's extractives industries. Since 2018, I have led a network of academic, civil society and professional research institutions and researchers working on the issue of Resource Nationalism in Southern and East Africa. I am currently Principal Investigator of a SSHRC PDG-funded partnership on Resource Nationalism which brings together researchers from Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Canada to collectively undertake new comparative research and engage directly with policy reform processes in the region.

Outside of that partnership, I regularly engage with Canadian, Zimbabwean and international advocacy organisations around issues of resource governance; for example, around the question of conflict diamonds and the work of the so-called “civil society coalition” within the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP), the international framework established in the early 2000s for regulating transparency in the international rough diamond trade. I have consulted with, provided research inputs for and participated in work undertaken by not-for-profit organisations active on issues of diamond industry monitoring and the KP; these groups include Impact (previously Partnership Africa-Canada), Fatal Transactions/Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa, the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association, Chiadzwa Community Development Trust, and Centre for Natural Resource Governance.

Research Interests

African Studies , Politics and Government, Development Political Economy, Extractive Resources, Civil Society and Democratisation, Resource Nationalism

Current Research Projects

Canadian Mining and Resource Nationalism in Africa: Contestation and Developmental Implications

    Summary:

    In the 2000s Canada developed legislative and regulatory measures to enhance transparency and encourage corporate social responsibility by national mining firms overseas. Recent initiatives, including Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act and the Canadian Ombudsman for Responsible Enterprise, have promised to improve financial and contract transparency, strengthen miner-host country trust, and open paths to constructive engagement with host governments, communities and civil society organisations. These moves come at a time when many mineral-rich developing countries are experiencing a wave of 'resource nationalism', in which local governments, businesses, mining communities and policy activists are demanding greater local distribution of benefits from foreign mining. This project investigates the convergence of these two trends -Canadian regulatory innovation and rising host country demands on mining investors - in the context of Southern Africa, a key destination of recent Canadian offshore mining activity and a region currently enmeshed in resource nationalist mining reforms.

    Description:

    The project will study three African countries with significant Canadian mining operations, Tanzania, Zambia and Zambia, and will investigate the changing relationships of Canadian companies with local mining stakeholders. Large, medium and small-scaled Canadian firms will be studied with the aim of gaining insights into the challenges faced and strategies developed by different segments of the Canadian offshore mining sector. The project will trace the dynamics of miner-host country engagements, illuminate the key drivers and forces at play in the African context, and link evolving stakeholder relations and mining regulations to shifting development outcomes. By this means the project aims to determine the impacts of Canadian mining reforms on host country governments and mining stakeholders, and the strategies and practices of Canadian offshore miners.

    See more
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Apr   Year: 2020

    End Date:
      Month: Mar   Year: 2023

    Funders:
    SSHRC
Resource Nationalism in Southern Africa: Policy Challenges and Emerging Opportunities

    Summary:

    Since the early 2000s, resurgent international minerals markets, disappointing tax revenues and weak economic spillovers from the mining sector have contributed to a rising wave of 'Resource Nationalism' (RN) in mineral-rich countries. RN refers to the use of discretionary policies by governments to regulate and control the resource industries with the aim of achieving economic and political benefits. While governments, local business and civil society in many countries have broadly called for the strengthening of benefits from mining, states' policy interventions have differed significantly in practice and have resulted in diverse development outcomes. In Africa there is renewed focus by governments, social stakeholders and international development agencies on how to harness the mineral sector's potential. Typically, however, these national-level debates have been isolated from and mostly uninformed by each other. The evidence surrounding recent policy practices and their outcomes has been scattered, anecdotal and thin. The proposed project seeks to address knowledge gaps in RN policy debates in Southern Africa and facilitate the flow of information surrounding RN innovations across national borders.

    Description:

    The project will build a partnership of leading RN research organisations in Canada and Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, three mineral-rich countries where policy debates and innovations now feature prominently. Led by Prof Richard Saunders, the project team includes 5 co-applicants, 6 partner organisations and 9 specialist collaborators spread across the 4 participating countries. The project team will identify key research gaps and facilitate comparative research of recent policy experiences in Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Through the partners' research and advocacy links with regional networks of mining stakeholders and government policy processes, the project will actively engage with national and regional debates by providing new evidence and insights generated by the research. The strength of the partnership lies in the diverse capacities and expertise of its partners and research team. These include some of Canada's leading research units and scholars working on RN and mining in Africa, internationally-renown non-governmental research and advocacy organisations based in Southern Africa, and senior and emerging scholars based at universities in the region. Multidisciplinary expertise within the partnership is reflected in the project's plan for research, training and knowledge mobilisation. Research collaboration will be organised under 3 working groups focused on a variety of themes, with each group led by two co-applicants, one based in Canada and one in an African case country. Africa-based collaborators, specialists in the areas covered by the working groups, will advise and assist the groups in their research.

    See more
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: May   Year: 2020

    End Date:
      Month: Apr   Year: 2023

    Funders:
    SSHRC
Books

Publication
Year

Facets of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe's Blood Diamonds R. Saunders & T. Nyamunda, eds. Harare: Weaver Press, 2016

2016

Never the Same Again: Zimbabwe’s Growth Towards Democracy, 1980-2000 Harare: ESP, 2000

2000

Dancing Out of Tune: A History of the Media in Zimbabwe Harare: ESP, 1999

1999

Business Development with New and Emerging Technology in Resource Industries of Southern Africa. S. Tiffin, F. Osotimehin and R. Saunders. Paris: OECD Development Centre, 1992

1992

Book Chapters

Publication
Year

“Truncated Transitions: Elite Politics, Business Resilience and Continuities of Power in Zimbabwe’s Minerals Sector”, in C. Brown, D. Moore and B. Rutherford, eds., New Leaders. New Dawn? South Africa and Zimbabwe Under Cyril Ramaphosa and Emmerson Mnangagwa. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, forthcoming 2021.

2021

“The Politics of Resource Bargaining, Social Relations and Institutional Development in Zimbabwe Since Independence”, in Katja Hujo, ed., The Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization for Social Development, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan and UNRISD, 2020

2020

"Holding Ground: Community, Companies and Resistance in Chiadzwa", R. Saunders and M. Chiponda, in Saunders and Nyamunda, eds. Facets of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe's Blood Diamonds. Harare: Weaver, 2016

2016

“Introduction: The Many Facets of Marange’s Diamonds”, in Saunders and Nyamunda, eds., Facets of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamonds. Johannesburg and Harare: Wits University Press and Weaver Press, 2016

2016

“Geologies of Power: Conflict Diamonds, Security Politics and Zimbabwe’s Troubled Transition”, in Saunders and Nyamunda, eds., Facets of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamonds. Johannesburg and Harare: Wits University Press and Weaver Press, 2016

2016

"Trade Union Struggles for Autonomy and Democracy in Zimbabwe", Jon Kraus (ed), Trade Unions and the Coming of Democracy in Africa, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007

2007

“Mugabe, Gramsci and Zimbabwe at 25” (with John S. Saul), in John S. Saul, The Next Liberation Struggle: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy in Southern Africa, Toronto/Scottsvile/New York/London: Between the Lines/UKZN Press/Monthly Review Press/Merlin Press, 2005

2005

“Striking Ahead: Industrial Action and Labour Movement Development in Zimbabwe”, in Brian Raftopoulos and Lloyd Sachikonye (eds), Striking Back: The Labour Movement and the Post-Colonial State in Zimbabwe 1980-2000, Harare: Weaver Press, 2001

2001

Journal Articles

Publication
Year

(with Alex Caramento) “An ‘Extractive Developmental State’ in Southern Africa? The Cases of Zambia and Zimbabwe.” Third World Quarterly vol. 39, no. 6 (2018): 1166-1190.

https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2017.1409072

2018

“Geologies of Power: Blood Diamonds, Security Politics and Zimbabwe’s Troubled Transition”, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Vol. 32 No.3 (July 2014) 378-394

2014

“Zimbabwe: Liberation Nationalism – old and born-again”, Review of African Political Economy ,Vol. 38 No.1 (March 2011) 117-128

2011

“Crisis, Capital, Compromise: Mining and Empowerment in Zimbabwe”, African Sociological Review (Special Issue: South Africa in Africa), Vol.12, No.1 (December 2008)

2008

“South African Corporations and post-Apartheid Expansion in Africa: creating a new regional space” , R. Saunders, D. Miller and O. Oloyede, African Sociological Review (Special Issue: South Africa in Africa), Vol.12, No.1 (December 2008)

2008

“South Africa in Africa: Restructuring and Resistance” (Editorial), and “Painful Paradoxes: Mining, Crisis and Regional Capital in Zimbabwe”, At Issue E-Zine (Africa Files, Toronto, May-September 2008

2008

“Labor, the State and the Struggle for a Democratic Zimbabwe”, P. Bond and R. Saunders, Monthly Review Vol.57, Issue 7 (December 2005): 42-55

2005

Forthcoming:
"The Return of Resource Nationalism to Southern Africa”, Special Issue of Journal of Southern African Studies, co-editor of SI Volume 48 (2022)


Conference Papers

Publication
Year

“A Political Economy of Contestation and Resource Bargaining in Zimbabwe”, paper presented at the ‘Social Policy in Africa’ International Conference, University of South Africa, Tshwane, South Africa, November 2019

2019

“Development Deferred: Resource Nationalism, Elite Predation and Mining Power in Zimbabwe”, paper presented on the panel, ‘Resource Nationalism in Southern Africa: Challenges and Opportunities’, at the European Conference on African Studies Conference, ‘Africa: Connections and Disruptions’, Edinburgh, Scotland, June 2019

2019

“Extractive Developmental States in Africa? Southern African Cases”, paper presented in the Workshop “Perspectives on the Developmental State”, School of Government, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, February 2018

2018

“Facets of Power: Predation and Resistance in the Diamond Fields of Zimbabwe”, paper presented in the panel, ‘The Future of Working Class Struggles in Southern Africa’, Canadian Association of Work and Labour Studies Annual Conference, Toronto

2017

“The African Mining Vision versus Indigenisation in Zimbabwe”, paper presented in the panel, “Mining Companies Fighting Their Greatest Risk: ‘Resource Nationalism”’, Society for Socialist Studies Annual Conference, Toronto

2017

“Facets of Power: The Struggle to Redefine 'Conflict Diamonds' from Below in Zimbabwe”, paper presented in the panel, ‘Exploring the Resource Curse’, African Studies Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC

2016

“High Value Minerals and Low Growth Outcomes: Mining, Resource Mobilisation and the State in Zimbabwe”, paper presented in the panel, ‘An African Developmental State? Evidence, Trends and Contemporary Debates’, African Studies Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, November 2015

2015

“Extracting Value from Crisis: Bargains, benefits and South African investment in Zimbabwe’s minerals sector”, paper presented in the conference, ‘South Africa after Apartheid: Critical Reflections’, Carleton University, Ottawa, September 2014

2014

“Curses, Truths and Falsehoods: A Diamond ‘Resource Curse’ in Zimbabwe?”, presented at African Public Policy and Research Institute conference, “Locating Minerals in the Political Economy Policy Debate”, Pretoria, South Africa, October 2013

2013

“Policy, Practice and Realities of Indigenisation in Zimbabwe’s Minerals Sector”, presented in the panel, “International Comparisons: Southern Africa and Latin America”, in the conference, ‘Meanings of Marikana: The Rise of the South African Platinum Mining Industry and the Nature of the Post-Apartheid Order’, SWOP/University of the Witwatersrand and Review of African Political Economy, Johannesburg, South Africa, September 2013

2013

“Geographies of Fractured Power: Blood Diamonds, Security Politics and Zimbabwe’s Troubled Transition”, presented on the panel “Security and Terrorism”, African Studies Association 53rd Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 2010

2010

“Resources: Cursed or Blessed Political Economies?”, presented at the conference, ‘”Progress” in Zimbabwe’, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, November 2010

2010

“Strengthening African Civil Society Organisations through University Web-based Learning”, presented at the conference, 'Access to Learning for Development', Fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning, London, UK, July 2008

2008

“The Press and Politics in Zimbabwe”, presented at the conference, ‘21st Century Africa: Evolving Conceptions of Human Rights’, African Studies Association, New York City, October 2007

2007

“Zimbabwe: State Militarisation and Civic Responses”, presented at the conference, ‘10 Years of Democracy in Southern Africa’, Queens University/University of South Africa, Kingston, Ontario, May 2004

2004

Research Reports

Publication
Year

“The Politics of Resource Bargaining, Social Relations and Institutional Development in Zimbabwe Since Independence”, UNRISD Working Paper 2019-1, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, 2019

2019

“High Value Minerals and Resource Bargaining in a Time of Crisis: A Case Study on the Diamond Fields of Marange, Zimbabwe”, UNRISD Working Paper No. 1-2018, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, 2018

2018

“Contestation and Resource Bargaining in Zimbabwe: The Minerals Sector”, UNRISD Working Paper No. 13-2017, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, 2017

2017

Other

Publication
Year

(with Alex Caramento) “Capitalism and Resource Nationalism in Southern Africa.” Review of African Political Economy “Capitalism in Africa” Blog, 17 October 2019.

https://roape.net/2019/10/17/capitalism-and-resource-nationalism-in-southern-africa/

2019

Four biographical and historical essays on Thomas Mapfumo, Peter Niesewand, Judith Todd and the "Willowgate" scandal in, Derek Jones (ed.), Censorship: a World Encyclopaedia, UK: Fitzroy Dearborn, December 2001

2001


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Summer 2021 AP/POLS4490 3.0 M Inequality, Development & Global South SEMR


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall 2021 GS/POLS6570 3.0 A AdvTopics in Politics of the GlobalSouth REMT


My career path as an academic is somewhat atypical. Prior to coming to York in 2002 I lived for two decades in Southern Africa, where I was a journalist and worked as a researcher within community-based and not-for-profit organisations. I maintain strong research links with academic and civil society researchers in East and Southern Africa, and have drawn on these connections to support the work of my graduate students and facilitate research collaborations between York and African partners. My research and supervision areas involve themes of state-society relations in the Global South in the contemporary period of neoliberal globalization. A recurring theme of my work involves the innovative forms of resistance and ‘compliance’ mounted by social constituencies in the face of pressures associated with neoliberal restructuring.

Since the 1990s, my academic and civil society research has explored the changing nature of the Southern state, the rise of non-state social actors in the shaping of policy discourses, and the resulting emergence of alternative policy strategies and governance mechanisms. In this regard, I have worked extensively on African labour movements, new media and democratization, and social justice contestations around public health policy. More recently, I have focused on issues of resource governance, using the lenses of political economy and political sociology. In each of these research areas, my work has sought to both fill critical research gaps in the literature, and provide technical and strategic support to popular constituencies engaged in diverse policy-making arenas.

My teaching has focused on African political economy, ‘development studies’ and comparative politics more broadly. I have taught several Africa-focused courses at undergraduate and graduate level, although in the past ten years my graduate teaching has included the wider scope of the Global South and focused increasingly on themes of state and non-state politics in the 21st Century. My graduate supervision has included PhD and MA students working on projects involving different areas in the Global South, with an emphasis on Africa and Latin America. My broader interest in engaging with Southern research and debates has led to my appointment as an associate faculty member in the graduate programs of International Development Studies and Sociology in LA&PS, and the Faculty of Health. Since 2019 I have been a Senior Research Associate of the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg.

Degrees

PhD, Carleton University
MA, Queens University
BA, St. Francis Xavier University

Appointments

Faculty of Health

Professional Leadership

Recent leadership roles in collaborative scholarly projects and intergovernmental policy studies include:
* 2020-23, Principal Investigator, SSHRC Partnership Development Grant Project, “Resource Nationalism in Southern Africa: Policy Challenges and Emerging Opportunities”
* 2020-23, Principal Investigator, SSHRC Insight Grant, “Canadian Mining and Resource Nationalism in Africa: Contestation and Developmental Implications”
* 2018-19, Principal Investigator, SSHRC Connection Grant, “Resource Nationalism in Southern Africa: Emerging Challenges and New Opportunities”
* 2013-19, Zimbabwe Country Team Leader for United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) project on the Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization
* 2013-16, Corresponding Editor and principal investigator for research resulting in the co-edited book, Facts of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamonds (Johannesburg and Harare, Wits University Press and Weaver Press, 2016)

Community Contributions

My close working links with scholarly, civil society and other research institutions and initiatives in Southern and East Africa date back to the 1980s.

In the 1980s and 1990s, my work in the region focused initially on media reform and information and human rights, and subsequently on issues of labour and economic reforms. I maintain links with academic, community-based and other civil society research institutions and initiatives in the region and support African and Canadian students and emerging researchers working in those areas.

In the 2010s my research focus increasingly shifted to Africa's extractives industries. Since 2018, I have led a network of academic, civil society and professional research institutions and researchers working on the issue of Resource Nationalism in Southern and East Africa. I am currently Principal Investigator of a SSHRC PDG-funded partnership on Resource Nationalism which brings together researchers from Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Canada to collectively undertake new comparative research and engage directly with policy reform processes in the region.

Outside of that partnership, I regularly engage with Canadian, Zimbabwean and international advocacy organisations around issues of resource governance; for example, around the question of conflict diamonds and the work of the so-called “civil society coalition” within the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP), the international framework established in the early 2000s for regulating transparency in the international rough diamond trade. I have consulted with, provided research inputs for and participated in work undertaken by not-for-profit organisations active on issues of diamond industry monitoring and the KP; these groups include Impact (previously Partnership Africa-Canada), Fatal Transactions/Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa, the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association, Chiadzwa Community Development Trust, and Centre for Natural Resource Governance.

Research Interests

African Studies , Politics and Government, Development Political Economy, Extractive Resources, Civil Society and Democratisation, Resource Nationalism

Current Research Projects

Canadian Mining and Resource Nationalism in Africa: Contestation and Developmental Implications

    Summary:

    In the 2000s Canada developed legislative and regulatory measures to enhance transparency and encourage corporate social responsibility by national mining firms overseas. Recent initiatives, including Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act and the Canadian Ombudsman for Responsible Enterprise, have promised to improve financial and contract transparency, strengthen miner-host country trust, and open paths to constructive engagement with host governments, communities and civil society organisations. These moves come at a time when many mineral-rich developing countries are experiencing a wave of 'resource nationalism', in which local governments, businesses, mining communities and policy activists are demanding greater local distribution of benefits from foreign mining. This project investigates the convergence of these two trends -Canadian regulatory innovation and rising host country demands on mining investors - in the context of Southern Africa, a key destination of recent Canadian offshore mining activity and a region currently enmeshed in resource nationalist mining reforms.

    Description:

    The project will study three African countries with significant Canadian mining operations, Tanzania, Zambia and Zambia, and will investigate the changing relationships of Canadian companies with local mining stakeholders. Large, medium and small-scaled Canadian firms will be studied with the aim of gaining insights into the challenges faced and strategies developed by different segments of the Canadian offshore mining sector. The project will trace the dynamics of miner-host country engagements, illuminate the key drivers and forces at play in the African context, and link evolving stakeholder relations and mining regulations to shifting development outcomes. By this means the project aims to determine the impacts of Canadian mining reforms on host country governments and mining stakeholders, and the strategies and practices of Canadian offshore miners.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Apr   Year: 2020

    End Date:
      Month: Mar   Year: 2023

    Funders:
    SSHRC
Resource Nationalism in Southern Africa: Policy Challenges and Emerging Opportunities

    Summary:

    Since the early 2000s, resurgent international minerals markets, disappointing tax revenues and weak economic spillovers from the mining sector have contributed to a rising wave of 'Resource Nationalism' (RN) in mineral-rich countries. RN refers to the use of discretionary policies by governments to regulate and control the resource industries with the aim of achieving economic and political benefits. While governments, local business and civil society in many countries have broadly called for the strengthening of benefits from mining, states' policy interventions have differed significantly in practice and have resulted in diverse development outcomes. In Africa there is renewed focus by governments, social stakeholders and international development agencies on how to harness the mineral sector's potential. Typically, however, these national-level debates have been isolated from and mostly uninformed by each other. The evidence surrounding recent policy practices and their outcomes has been scattered, anecdotal and thin. The proposed project seeks to address knowledge gaps in RN policy debates in Southern Africa and facilitate the flow of information surrounding RN innovations across national borders.

    Description:

    The project will build a partnership of leading RN research organisations in Canada and Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, three mineral-rich countries where policy debates and innovations now feature prominently. Led by Prof Richard Saunders, the project team includes 5 co-applicants, 6 partner organisations and 9 specialist collaborators spread across the 4 participating countries. The project team will identify key research gaps and facilitate comparative research of recent policy experiences in Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Through the partners' research and advocacy links with regional networks of mining stakeholders and government policy processes, the project will actively engage with national and regional debates by providing new evidence and insights generated by the research. The strength of the partnership lies in the diverse capacities and expertise of its partners and research team. These include some of Canada's leading research units and scholars working on RN and mining in Africa, internationally-renown non-governmental research and advocacy organisations based in Southern Africa, and senior and emerging scholars based at universities in the region. Multidisciplinary expertise within the partnership is reflected in the project's plan for research, training and knowledge mobilisation. Research collaboration will be organised under 3 working groups focused on a variety of themes, with each group led by two co-applicants, one based in Canada and one in an African case country. Africa-based collaborators, specialists in the areas covered by the working groups, will advise and assist the groups in their research.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: May   Year: 2020

    End Date:
      Month: Apr   Year: 2023

    Funders:
    SSHRC

All Publications


Book Chapters

Publication
Year

“Truncated Transitions: Elite Politics, Business Resilience and Continuities of Power in Zimbabwe’s Minerals Sector”, in C. Brown, D. Moore and B. Rutherford, eds., New Leaders. New Dawn? South Africa and Zimbabwe Under Cyril Ramaphosa and Emmerson Mnangagwa. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, forthcoming 2021.

2021

“The Politics of Resource Bargaining, Social Relations and Institutional Development in Zimbabwe Since Independence”, in Katja Hujo, ed., The Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization for Social Development, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan and UNRISD, 2020

2020

"Holding Ground: Community, Companies and Resistance in Chiadzwa", R. Saunders and M. Chiponda, in Saunders and Nyamunda, eds. Facets of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe's Blood Diamonds. Harare: Weaver, 2016

2016

“Introduction: The Many Facets of Marange’s Diamonds”, in Saunders and Nyamunda, eds., Facets of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamonds. Johannesburg and Harare: Wits University Press and Weaver Press, 2016

2016

“Geologies of Power: Conflict Diamonds, Security Politics and Zimbabwe’s Troubled Transition”, in Saunders and Nyamunda, eds., Facets of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamonds. Johannesburg and Harare: Wits University Press and Weaver Press, 2016

2016

"Trade Union Struggles for Autonomy and Democracy in Zimbabwe", Jon Kraus (ed), Trade Unions and the Coming of Democracy in Africa, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007

2007

“Mugabe, Gramsci and Zimbabwe at 25” (with John S. Saul), in John S. Saul, The Next Liberation Struggle: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy in Southern Africa, Toronto/Scottsvile/New York/London: Between the Lines/UKZN Press/Monthly Review Press/Merlin Press, 2005

2005

“Striking Ahead: Industrial Action and Labour Movement Development in Zimbabwe”, in Brian Raftopoulos and Lloyd Sachikonye (eds), Striking Back: The Labour Movement and the Post-Colonial State in Zimbabwe 1980-2000, Harare: Weaver Press, 2001

2001

Books

Publication
Year

Facets of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe's Blood Diamonds R. Saunders & T. Nyamunda, eds. Harare: Weaver Press, 2016

2016

Never the Same Again: Zimbabwe’s Growth Towards Democracy, 1980-2000 Harare: ESP, 2000

2000

Dancing Out of Tune: A History of the Media in Zimbabwe Harare: ESP, 1999

1999

Business Development with New and Emerging Technology in Resource Industries of Southern Africa. S. Tiffin, F. Osotimehin and R. Saunders. Paris: OECD Development Centre, 1992

1992

Journal Articles

Publication
Year

(with Alex Caramento) “An ‘Extractive Developmental State’ in Southern Africa? The Cases of Zambia and Zimbabwe.” Third World Quarterly vol. 39, no. 6 (2018): 1166-1190.

https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2017.1409072

2018

“Geologies of Power: Blood Diamonds, Security Politics and Zimbabwe’s Troubled Transition”, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Vol. 32 No.3 (July 2014) 378-394

2014

“Zimbabwe: Liberation Nationalism – old and born-again”, Review of African Political Economy ,Vol. 38 No.1 (March 2011) 117-128

2011

“Crisis, Capital, Compromise: Mining and Empowerment in Zimbabwe”, African Sociological Review (Special Issue: South Africa in Africa), Vol.12, No.1 (December 2008)

2008

“South African Corporations and post-Apartheid Expansion in Africa: creating a new regional space” , R. Saunders, D. Miller and O. Oloyede, African Sociological Review (Special Issue: South Africa in Africa), Vol.12, No.1 (December 2008)

2008

“South Africa in Africa: Restructuring and Resistance” (Editorial), and “Painful Paradoxes: Mining, Crisis and Regional Capital in Zimbabwe”, At Issue E-Zine (Africa Files, Toronto, May-September 2008

2008

“Labor, the State and the Struggle for a Democratic Zimbabwe”, P. Bond and R. Saunders, Monthly Review Vol.57, Issue 7 (December 2005): 42-55

2005

Forthcoming:
"The Return of Resource Nationalism to Southern Africa”, Special Issue of Journal of Southern African Studies, co-editor of SI Volume 48 (2022)


Conference Papers

Publication
Year

“A Political Economy of Contestation and Resource Bargaining in Zimbabwe”, paper presented at the ‘Social Policy in Africa’ International Conference, University of South Africa, Tshwane, South Africa, November 2019

2019

“Development Deferred: Resource Nationalism, Elite Predation and Mining Power in Zimbabwe”, paper presented on the panel, ‘Resource Nationalism in Southern Africa: Challenges and Opportunities’, at the European Conference on African Studies Conference, ‘Africa: Connections and Disruptions’, Edinburgh, Scotland, June 2019

2019

“Extractive Developmental States in Africa? Southern African Cases”, paper presented in the Workshop “Perspectives on the Developmental State”, School of Government, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, February 2018

2018

“Facets of Power: Predation and Resistance in the Diamond Fields of Zimbabwe”, paper presented in the panel, ‘The Future of Working Class Struggles in Southern Africa’, Canadian Association of Work and Labour Studies Annual Conference, Toronto

2017

“The African Mining Vision versus Indigenisation in Zimbabwe”, paper presented in the panel, “Mining Companies Fighting Their Greatest Risk: ‘Resource Nationalism”’, Society for Socialist Studies Annual Conference, Toronto

2017

“Facets of Power: The Struggle to Redefine 'Conflict Diamonds' from Below in Zimbabwe”, paper presented in the panel, ‘Exploring the Resource Curse’, African Studies Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC

2016

“High Value Minerals and Low Growth Outcomes: Mining, Resource Mobilisation and the State in Zimbabwe”, paper presented in the panel, ‘An African Developmental State? Evidence, Trends and Contemporary Debates’, African Studies Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, November 2015

2015

“Extracting Value from Crisis: Bargains, benefits and South African investment in Zimbabwe’s minerals sector”, paper presented in the conference, ‘South Africa after Apartheid: Critical Reflections’, Carleton University, Ottawa, September 2014

2014

“Curses, Truths and Falsehoods: A Diamond ‘Resource Curse’ in Zimbabwe?”, presented at African Public Policy and Research Institute conference, “Locating Minerals in the Political Economy Policy Debate”, Pretoria, South Africa, October 2013

2013

“Policy, Practice and Realities of Indigenisation in Zimbabwe’s Minerals Sector”, presented in the panel, “International Comparisons: Southern Africa and Latin America”, in the conference, ‘Meanings of Marikana: The Rise of the South African Platinum Mining Industry and the Nature of the Post-Apartheid Order’, SWOP/University of the Witwatersrand and Review of African Political Economy, Johannesburg, South Africa, September 2013

2013

“Geographies of Fractured Power: Blood Diamonds, Security Politics and Zimbabwe’s Troubled Transition”, presented on the panel “Security and Terrorism”, African Studies Association 53rd Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 2010

2010

“Resources: Cursed or Blessed Political Economies?”, presented at the conference, ‘”Progress” in Zimbabwe’, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, November 2010

2010

“Strengthening African Civil Society Organisations through University Web-based Learning”, presented at the conference, 'Access to Learning for Development', Fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning, London, UK, July 2008

2008

“The Press and Politics in Zimbabwe”, presented at the conference, ‘21st Century Africa: Evolving Conceptions of Human Rights’, African Studies Association, New York City, October 2007

2007

“Zimbabwe: State Militarisation and Civic Responses”, presented at the conference, ‘10 Years of Democracy in Southern Africa’, Queens University/University of South Africa, Kingston, Ontario, May 2004

2004

Research Reports

Publication
Year

“The Politics of Resource Bargaining, Social Relations and Institutional Development in Zimbabwe Since Independence”, UNRISD Working Paper 2019-1, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, 2019

2019

“High Value Minerals and Resource Bargaining in a Time of Crisis: A Case Study on the Diamond Fields of Marange, Zimbabwe”, UNRISD Working Paper No. 1-2018, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, 2018

2018

“Contestation and Resource Bargaining in Zimbabwe: The Minerals Sector”, UNRISD Working Paper No. 13-2017, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, 2017

2017

Other

Publication
Year

(with Alex Caramento) “Capitalism and Resource Nationalism in Southern Africa.” Review of African Political Economy “Capitalism in Africa” Blog, 17 October 2019.

https://roape.net/2019/10/17/capitalism-and-resource-nationalism-in-southern-africa/

2019

Four biographical and historical essays on Thomas Mapfumo, Peter Niesewand, Judith Todd and the "Willowgate" scandal in, Derek Jones (ed.), Censorship: a World Encyclopaedia, UK: Fitzroy Dearborn, December 2001

2001


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Summer 2021 AP/POLS4490 3.0 M Inequality, Development & Global South SEMR


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall 2021 GS/POLS6570 3.0 A AdvTopics in Politics of the GlobalSouth REMT